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Hey @ForesterBill

It seems like we have similar needs from our cars. I always see your posts on other threads I'm interested in.

Anyway, I commute about 10 miles round trip through a mix of about 5 miles of 55 mph highway and 5 miles of "very urban" city driving with lots of lights. Once I get to work I have no capability at present to charge. At and around home, I'm usually picking up or dropping off the kids at school and then if I'm not at work on the evening shift I'm usually driving one or both of them to some sport activity which is typically within 5 miles from the house. That means the idea of 40 miles would work for me, with the gas engine being available so I don't have to be "OCD" about keeping the battery charged.

Here are my thoughts on the RAV4 Prime, speaking to you as someone who has exclusively driven 3 Subarus over the last ~13 years, a Legacy, an Outback, and now, a Forester.

My lease on my Forester is up in January of 2022, which means I have around 2 years left with this car. My 3 cars that I am most interested in buying (not leasing next time) are: Tesla Model Y, Toyota RAV4 Prime, and Subaru Forester (Hybrid?)

First and foremost, I love my Forester. It wasn't until I started driving my Forester that I noticed that the auto-start system (first time I've had a car with this technology) was kicking in, and showing me just how much I was waiting in traffic and at the dozens of lights on my city commute. But, it's tough to look at around 22 mpg combined as your commuting car when there are options that are much, much more efficient. I get it, Subaru is legendary in terms of all-wheel drive and bad weather functionality. It was the main reason I've had three Subarus so far. They really are outstanding in this department. But, do I really need to sacrifice triple to quadruple (or more) economy gains to offset the handful of days we have bad snow here? That's what's got me on the fence.

I live in Northern NJ, outside the NYC metro area, and charging stations are really all over the place, from public parks to libraries to highways and more. I most likely wouldn't use a "Public Charger" unless it was a location I was planning to stop at anyway since the RAV4 Prime has the gas engine. If I had the Tesla Model Y I'd obviously need more planning, but since I would be able to charge up to 280 miles the night before, this most likely wouldn't be an issue.

I recently took a trip with the family to Boston. There were destination chargers all over the place at the parking garages I used at no extra cost if I needed them. That would ensure that I had a full charge again for the return trip as needed. There were also multiple Supercharger stations that I passed along the way as well. The round trip, in total, was about 400 miles. In my opinion it would be something I had to pay attention to on pure electric (Tesla) but it would be doable. What's the worst that happens? I had to stop halfway through the trip to feed the kids and find a bathroom for them anyway. I timed it for hypothetical purposes, and by the time we received our food order and used the restrooms, we had spent 18 minutes out of the car. That would easily have given us the extra cushion we needed in terms of charging, but there would be more effort on our part to stop at a food place that also had Supercharging.

I suppose that's the thing with Teslas in general - you're also buying "exclusive access" to their Supercharger network. While I am aware that many other EV charging companies are speeding up charging (CCS, Chademo) and putting in new locations around major highways, you just can't compete with the Tesla network they've built. I have a Supercharger 5 miles from my house, and I have another one about 50 miles away at a shopping Outlet mall, which is attractive for my trips to the Jersey Shore in the summer. There's also another Supercharger about 10 miles South of my destination at the shore, but it would be about 15 minutes out of my way to drive South. But, not necessarily "inconvenient."

The interesting factor here is where the RAV4 Prime will come in at, pricewise. Toyota's already officially made a statement that there will be a Premium Package for their highest level Prime trim "XSE" which will include things like Adaptive LED Headlights, a COLOR HUD (OMG!), JBL Premium Audio, Kick-type Rear Liftgate, Memory Driver's Seat, and more.

But, if this encroaches upon the $52,000 I've priced out the Tesla Model Y at, it would be difficult to justify the RAV4 Prime. In NJ, EV's have a sales tax exemption, meaning that I wouldn't pay a dime on NJ State Sales Tax. So, I would have to pay an additional 6.625% on the RAV4 Prime. Assuming a $45,000 price, that would add an extra $3000 to the cost of the car.

The main benefit of the Model Y that I see is that Tesla regularly issues OVER THE AIR updates to the car. This was one of my biggest irk factors of my 2011 Subaru Outback: the infotainment, if you want to call it that, was dreadfully outdated. While Subaru certainly can't predict the future, they certainly aren't making optional things to buy to upgrade the existing system. For example, my Outback didn't even have streaming Bluetooth Audio. It wasn't even something I could have added. It would be refreshing, in this regard, to have the manufacturer have an OEM option to add a CarPlay/AA enabled "head unit" that was simply swappable with the existing unit, like the way USB 3.0 must be backwards compatible with 2.0 and then 1.0 as well.

The big thing I see going forward in the next few years is the change from reactive "Lane Keep Assist" to "Lane Centering" which I believe is a significant upgrade.

Now, some people don't use LKA and some people don't use ACC at all. I use them heavily, every single day. It is a driver's aide not meant to replace me but make my hellish city commute a little easier. I would probably be disappointed if I bought a 2019, for example, and the new 2020 had Lane Centering feature.

Now I've crunched the numbers and the like and the Tesla is definitely more expensive up front. I suppose it depends on if you're a person that likes to trade in cars after a certain number of miles or years. I could argue that the Tesla would need little maintenance going forward and you're looking at a price of $5200 per year over 10 years, which is $433 per month. That's not half bad when you consider that if you drive 10,000 miles per year, or 1000 per month, that's 45 gallons of gas per month at my 22 mpg. That's a cost of $113 per month in gasoline at a very polite $2.50 per gallon. Equivalently, this would cost me about $22 per month in electricity to power. Perhaps less if I continue forward with my plan to install Solar Panels next spring since my utility does net metering (surplus solar electricity is sent into the grid and then I earn a kilowatt-based credit, which I "use first" when I need to use electricity from the utility, at night time for example.)

Anyway I've digressed a little bit.

It all depends on the Price of the RAV4 Prime. The NJ Sales Tax exemption is a big thing to consider along with the toll road (NJ Turnpike, Garden State Parkway) 10% discount on "off-peak" toll pricing for EV's. That all adds up over time.

I really, really want the Tesla as I'm sure you can pick up from my post. I want to push forward with the technology and do a little right by the environment. But, it would depend on the price of the RAV4 Hybrid. It's possible that the Tesla could get things "down the road" from OTA updates, like the HUD that Toyota's offering.

And I wouldn't be on the hook for a $90 oil change every 6 months. I'd still need to rotate my tires though, but I wouldn't need brake pads or rotors every ~4 years and I wouldn't ever have to do a spark plug or coolant change again. And I finally would be free of that CVT drama.

Something to also consider is that PHEV's and EV's qualify for the Federal Tax Credit which decreases with time/production. Teslas no longer get this tax credit, but the Toyota has the full $7500 potentially - that's signficant savings.

If the MSRP is $40,000 for the RAV4 Prime, you're looking at a very reasonable $32,500 for a really capable SUV.
 
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